Getting to scratch

Been reading Talent is Overrated by Geoff Colvin and I’m beginning to understand the importance of setting specific goals and executing on deliberate practice to achieve excellence in my golf.  For the last 20-25 years I’ve maintained a 5-handicap and have been resigned to the fact that I can’t improve based on time limitations.  Essentially, I play once every two weeks and practice once or twice a week, spending the majority of my time on short game.  Is it possible to get to a three or two handicap, or maybe even scratch with this level of commitment?  I think so because what has held me back has been inconsistent ball striking and I believe I finally understand the source of the problem.

In an earlier post I had found a swing fault where I kept taking the club too far inside on my backswing.  I now understand this to be the cause of my inconsistency.  I remember seeing a drill by Michael Breed on The Golf Channel and tried it with instant success back on June 12.  My next round I hit the ball poorly and subsequently filmed my swing which showed I had reverted to my old fault.  Since then I’ve hit balls on five separate occasions and played one round, all with the same excellent ball striking.  The consistency is incredible and before every practice session I feel excited with anticipation, like a kid on Christmas morning.

I am a big advocate of short game practice and have worked hard over the last couple of years and while my scrambling has improved my handicap has not.  For the last four years I’ve been averaging 8 GIR  which is a clear indicator of poor ball striking and I suspect most single digit handicappers hit at least half their greens.  The good news is that this swing fix has been easy to implement and doesn’t require much range work.  Today I validated with about 25 swings with my PW, Driver, and 7-iron and striped it again.  If I can average 12 GIR with this simple adjustment, could I expect to drop two shots per round?  That’s the plan to get me to a 3 handicap by the end of the season.  If I keep working/improving on short game at the current rate, I’m thinking scratch is possible in two years.  Gotta reach for the stars and maybe I’ll get my head in the clouds before too long.

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About Brian Penn

Avid sports fan and golf nut. I am a lifelong resident of the Washington D.C. area and love to follow the local teams. Also worked as a golf professional in the Middle Atlantic PGA for several years and am intrigued by the game to no end. I love to play and practice and am dedicated to continual improvement.
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